06.03.2024

by Kajetan Sawicz

Indonesia Tightens Grip on Online Gambling Ads on Social Media

In a decisive move, Indonesia’s Communications and Information Ministry (Kominfo) has escalated its efforts to combat the surge of online gambling advertisements on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter.

The ministry’s initiative underscores a broader campaign to safeguard Indonesian netizens from the pernicious effects of gambling content proliferating across digital platforms.

Automated Solutions for a Growing Concern

At a recent press briefing, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, the director-general of informatics application at Kominfo, alongside representatives from the Singapore office of platform X, unveiled plans to refine the identification and elimination of gambling-related content. Pangerapan articulated the ministry’s strategy to transition towards automated systems for flagging and removing such content, aiming to alleviate the burdensome process reliant on manual interventions. “We issue a ‘notice to take down’ for such content, but it becomes cumbersome if it repeats. We asked the platform to develop a system for automatic handling,” Pangerapan stated, highlighting the need for more streamlined operations.

The urgency of addressing this issue is reflected in the growing discontent among Indonesian users over the pervasive presence of online gambling ads on platform X, featuring public figures and infiltrating search results indiscriminately. A study conducted by Populix sheds light on the magnitude of exposure, with 63% of internet users in Indonesia encountering online gambling advertisements. Alarmingly, 41% of these users expressed curiosity towards online gambling sites post-exposure, with 16% delving into online gambling activities.

An Assertive Stance Against Non-compliance

In 2023 alone, Kominfo’s rigorous enforcement led to the removal of 810,785 pieces of online gambling content, a stark increase from the previous year. The ministry’s resolve was further demonstrated through formal warnings issued to prominent social media platforms, including Meta and platform X, resulting in the significant elimination of gambling-related content and advertisements. Kominfo’s Minister, Budi Arie, emphasized the government’s stringent position, reflective of Indonesia’s legal framework that imposes heavy penalties on online gambling operations, including imprisonment and substantial fines.

Our Comment on the Article

Kominfo’s proactive measures against online gambling advertisements represent a crucial step in protecting the digital welfare of Indonesian citizens. By advocating for automated solutions and holding social media platforms accountable, Indonesia sets a precedent in regulatory enforcement in the digital age. This approach not only addresses immediate concerns but also signals a commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy digital ecosystem. As the battle against online gambling content intensifies, the collaboration between government bodies and technology platforms will be instrumental in shaping a more secure digital landscape for users worldwide.

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